Helping You If You Are Summonsed for Driving Whilst Using a Mobile Phone

In the current clamp down by the police if you are unfairly summonsed for driving whilst using a mobile phone do contact me to see how I can assist you. I charge a fixed fee of £600 for representation at trial when defending a mobile phone allegation. It is worth remembering the following:

  1. The Police and prosecution even in these cases still need to prove the allegation to the criminal standard of proof. If the Court is unsure if you were using a phone then it is duty bound to acquit you.

 

  1. What distance was the officer from you? How long did he have the phone in his view for? Was there any obstruction in his way? When two cars are travelling even at slow speeds it can be for less than a fraction of a second that the officer sees your phone for.

 

  1. Did his colleague write a statement? If not, why not?

 

  1. Do you agree with any admissions made at the scene? Did you say what is alleged that you said to the officer? Did you sign his notes as a true record of what was said? If not, why?

 

  1. Did the officer check or ask to check your phone? Phone records only go so far. They show a call made, not the act of making (imperfect tense) the call if not made or a text that isn’t sent.

 

  1. Remember the most dangerous witness is the honest but mistaken witness who comes across as utterly truthful but is in fact plain wrong.

 

  1. Was anyone in the car with you? Can they come to court if you were not using the phone?

 

  1. What is your previous driving history like? Do you have numerous infringements or this out of character?

 

  1. “Using” a mobile phone has not been defined in the higher courts – there is no legal definition but it must include sending a text or pressing any buttons on a phone. One takes its ordinary and normal usage. It also includes, in my view, merely looking at the phone in your hand. According to my dictionary the word means “to employ for some purpose; put into service; make use of”

 

  1. I am not sure if merely picking up a phone that has fallen on the floor is “using” the phone but these are questions that a court can answer.

 

Contact me to see if I can help as a barrister in defending you and your licence.

Posted in Julian R Hunt

“The Judicial System Is Complex And Unresponsive And Julian Diligently Navigated It For Me, Something I Couldn’t Have Even Contemplated On My Own”

Another testimonial from a client recently allowed to keep her licence after racking up fifteen points:

“As a single working mum the idea of having to cope with out my car filled me with horror, when I was faced with a totting up ban I just didn’t know what to do. I contacted Julian and he has been exceptional. He offered me great advice, reassurance and support. Most importantly my case wasn’t simple and he worked exceptionally hard to make sure I got the best possible output. The judicial  system is complex and unresponsive and Julian diligently navigated it for me, something I couldn’t have even contemplated on my own.

Julian provided expert advice on how to prepare for the court appearance and what inputs I needed to provide. On the day he accompanied me and reassured me through the whole process. I am convinced I wouldn’t have received the positive result without him and whilst I now have to drive exceptionally carefully for the coming years at least I still have my car. I would highly recommend Julian as a person and a legal professional.”

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A New Testimonial After I Won A Failing To Provide A Specimen Appeal At The Crown Court

RB, a Project Manager, wrote this after I represented him at a failing to provide a specimen trial last week:

“I am hugely grateful for Julian’s expertise and unequivocal support in winning my appeal on a complex motoring case, involving failure to provide a specimen. Julian was extremely attentive, understanding and highly knowledgeable. He was always willing to go the extra mile and the results from the trial speaks for itself. He is a true professional, highly dependable and provides a fantastic value & quality service.”

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Time Limits Under The Freedom of Information Act

I was recently involved in a Freedom of Information matter against a government department. The Information Commissioner sided with me and came to the important conclusion that only in exceptional circumstances could the limit of forty days for delaying the decision to disclose information be extended. I had been waiting since last year for an answer to some simple questions.

A link to the Decision Notice is here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByEaMnv1AIpzTk9BVTZidFg1Vjg/view?usp=sharing

 

Posted in Julian R Hunt

EU driving licences post-Brexit

EU DRIVING LICENCES POST-BREXIT 

One of the tasks post-Brexit will be the working out how the UK will deal with EU driving licences.

At present any EU member state driver with a valid EU member state licence can drive a car in the UK on their home licence.

In the UK, this means that a German licence holder, for instance, can drive in the UK on their German licence. If resident in the UK, the German licence holder can drive in the UK until they are seventy without having to exchange their licence for a UK licence.

A driving ban in another member state (apart from mutual recognition with Ireland) is not recognised in the UK but it is highly likely that an EU national, banned say in Spain, and driving in the UK, will not be insured to drive under the terms of their insurance policy. A UK driving ban is recognised only in Ireland although, as said, it is highly unlikely that a driver, banned in the UK, with a UK licence, will be insured under the terms of a policy – whether a UK or other member state policy – in another member state.

At present, holders of non-EU licences face some difficulties. Drivers from all non-EU “designated countries” can drive in the UK validly for twelve months after they first become resident in the UK. There are seventeen of these countries including Japan, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Switzerland. The USA, China and India are not included. They can then exchange their foreign licence for up to five years for a UK licence.

The reason for these countries being designated is due, I suspect, to tougher driving tests than other countries. The reasons though are not apparent from the outset.

The term “resident” isn’t defined in the legislation.

If they don’t exchange it within this time frame then the licence holder must start from square one and pass the UK driving test starting off with a provisional licence.

For non-designated countries you cannot exchange your licence. You can drive for twelve months if resident in the UK but must then apply for a UK provisional licence.

Following Brexit the following questions will need answering:

  1. Which EU member state licence holders will be able to drive in the UK without needing to exchange licences if resident for more than year? Will a Slovakian licence holder discover that if in the UK for more than a year he will need to get a provisional licence whereas a German driver will be able to drive for up to five years before exchanging their licence for a full UK licence?

 

  1. Will EU nationals will lose their right to drive on their member state licence and need to apply for a provisional licence if already resident in the UK? How long will any period of grace be before this right is lost?

 

  1. Which member states will be deemed designated countries and which ones non-designated.

 

  1. The number of individuals applying and taking driving tests (assuming EU member states licence holders do not find they are in the same position) will boom. The DSA will need to pump resources into more test centres. At present, there can be a two to three month wait for driving tests. All good news for driving test instructors.

 

  1. Will other member states put similar restrictions on UK nationals abroad who can currently drive until seventy on their UK licence? I doubt this as the UK driving test is one of the toughest tests in the world but it is too early to tell.

 

  1. I doubt for mere visitors for a few weeks on holiday anything major will change but there will be changes in the long term for those holding non-UK member state licences.

 

  1. If this makes your head spin, imagine how much time and effort will be spent unpicking all the other EU law currently transposed into UK law.

 

Julian Hunt

Barrister

London

29th June 2016

Acquisition International UK Transportation Lawyer of the Year 2016

Posted in Julian R Hunt

Motoring Law – He Who Lives By The Procedural Sword Must Die By It

I have been representing drivers across the country over the last few weeks. Some interesting cases have included:

  1. Representing a motorist accused of not responding to a section 172 notice. The case due to various errors by the police was dismissed at half time. Service had not been proved. I also obtained wasted costs. I had written to the CPS three months before the hearing to explain the flaws in the case but my warnings were not taken. As I told the court “He who lives by the procedural sword must die by the procedural sword”.
  2. Representing a senior fire fighter who was at risk of losing his licence due to totting up twelve points. The court on hearing arguments from me about his specialist skills (such as flood rescue which he deployed during the recent flooding in the North) was willing to let this decent and brave man keep his licence.
  3. Representing a motorist accused of failing to provide a specimen. The prosecution was persuaded that they could not quite properly prove that this offence had occurred in the course of an investigation into whether he was driving but rather in the course of whether he was in charge of the car. This meant that instead of a ban of some 2-3 years he received 10 penalty points.
  4. I do other areas of law as well and have also been representing a street preacher accused of public order act offences. This was a fascinating intersection of freedom of speech law and the level at which speech becomes criminal as opposed to just merely offensive in nature.
  5. Give me a ring or email to see how I can assist you – especially in relation to protecting your driving licence. I work alone and it is me and me alone you get to speak to and who will be working on your case.
Posted in Julian R Hunt

Benefit Fraud Work

Contact me if you have an upcoming benefit fraud case. I have represented many individuals in such cases in London and the South East. Have a professional barrister on your side avoiding the need for a solicitor. I am ready to speak to you on the phone or by email. You will get a personal service from beginning to end on fixed fees from a barrister. Call or email me today.  I add the following:

  1. I give sound and pragmatic advice.
  2. I know the Benefit Investigators go for low hanging fruit.
  3. I am able to represent you whether your case is at the magistrates or Crown Court.
  4. I can also represent you if the Local Authority have frozen your accounts under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
  5. There are often a number of complex factors behind such cases. Whether the fraud is a few thousand pounds or over £100000 please do contact me to see how I can help.
Posted in Julian R Hunt

M6 / M42 Area And Variable Speed Limits

This area is notorious for speed camera and variable speed limits. I have represented many drivers caught in this area and assisted them in keeping their licence. Often the speed done is quite literally  “off the scale” with the risk of a ban or a substantial number of points. I represent clients as a motoring barrister on fixed fees for offences in this area especially in relation to variable speed limits. Contact me by email or phone and book me to represent you in Court.

Posted in Julian R Hunt

Some Wins On The Road

Some recent cases of note in the last month include the following:

  1. Representing a young man accused of drug driving. He was charged with driving whilst unfit but no Field Impairment Test had been carried out and a urine as opposed to blood sample was taken. I represented him and with the assistance of an expert witness he was acquitted of the offence. He was awarded Defence Costs.
  2. An appeal in the Crown Court for a man who had been banned for six months by magistrates. I had the ban reduced to 28 days and was able to suspend the ban pending the appeal.
  3. Another appeal to the Crown Court for a client who had been convicted of not responding to a section 172 notice of impended prosecution at the magistrates by a District Judge. I was able to persuade the Crown Court that the presumption of postal service had been rebutted. The very large fine, points and costs were all annulled. He was awarded Defence Costs.
  4. Representing a man who had demolished whilst drink driving a  fence and a lamp post whilst considerably over the drink drive limit and limiting his ban to the absolute minimum in law allowed – twelve months – through my sensible mitigation.
  5. Concluding a large mortgage fraud case with the client being sentenced after an indication by the Judge to a suspended sentence.
  6. Sending representations to the police in relation to an elderly lady and a collision which saw the matter dropped and the client able to continue to drive.
  7. Advising a driver on a judicial review in relation to a potential breach of natural justice argument following an appeal for a motoring matter.
  8. Representing in the civil courts a client whose deposit was not protected by the landlord. I was able to make an application under the Housing Act 2004. The client, after the case had been rumbling on for five years and the landlord had ignored part 36 offers galore, received her deposit back (£2400) plus £7200 in further penal damages (three times the deposit). In total judgement in this case was nearly £17000 for not protecting a £2400 deposit. As my father says “cheap is dear”.
Posted in Julian R Hunt

An Excellent Blog Post By The Barrister David Osborne On Direct Access And Why Coming Straight To A Barrister Is A Good Thing

This a briliant blog post from the barrister David Osborne on Direct Access. View his blog on http://www.david-osborne.com/blog/

 

September 9th, 2015

Until comparatively recently, barristers and solicitors were two distinct but interrelated disciplines in the provision of legal services.  In summary, solicitors were compared to general practitioners offering advice across the board in a variety of disciplines, depending on their size and the expertise of their partners and associates.  Barristers were compared to consultants who gave specialist advice and, when necessary, representation in court.

It all seemed to work well enough, but the legal profession as a whole has always been distrusted as a fat cat’s club where outrageous fees come first and the interests of the client a distant second.  It is strange but true that the two Prime Ministers who did the most damage to the Bar as a referral profession were both barristers, and I refer to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

The major blow to the Bar as a referral profession came with the enactment of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, which gave solicitors equal rights of audience in every court, whereas previously they had honed their adversarial skills in the Magistrates’ Courts. The problem as many saw it was the complete absence of advocacy teaching in the solicitors’ training, and even though those aspiring to the higher courts rights had to pass a proficiency test, it was a poor substitute to the advocacy training undertaken by barristers.  Despite the best endeavours of solicitors to offer a ‘cradle to grave’ legal service, astute clients still prefer the expertise of a barrister.

However, with this change, there were many at the Bar who complained that they were not competing on a level playing field.  The tradition that barristers only accept instructions from solicitors enabled solicitors to cherry pick and keep the best work for themselves, regardless of expertise, and farm out the dross to the Bar.  The tail was well and truly wagging the dog.

And so it was that about ten years’ ago, direct access was born.  It started slowly and tentatively, with just a handful of barristers like myself offering our services direct to the public, but it has now snowballed, and at the last count, over 5000 are now accredited.

Direct access, also known as public access, allows the lay client to come direct to a barrister without having to go first to a solicitor.  This has an appreciable saving in legal fees, and as we barristers would say, the lay client gets the best possible representation.  It doesn’t work in every case, in particular the more complex cases where two heads are better than one, but in the more straightforward cases, which comprise over 80% of all cases, direct access works well.

Only time will tell if this is the first step on the slippery slope to a fused profession, similar to most other legal disciplines, where barristers and solicitors become lawyers or attorneys, but for the time being, direct access is benefiting the lay client, and that must be a good thing.

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